Blog > CACEE Member Insights – September 2019

CACEE Member Insights – September 2019

Jeff Ollinger, Senior Manager, Early Talent Acquisition at RBC
by CACEE, posted on September 16, 2019
3 Ways You Can Help Students That Don’t Know What They Want To Do…

September is the time of year all students get a fresh start. For post-secondary students entering their graduating year, this can also be a stressful time. It’s the last year of a student’s life as an academic student which means focus is also on landing that first job as a new graduate. I’ve met thousands of students from every conceivable academic discipline and if I have learned one thing it is 99% of all students truly don’t know exactly what they want to do for a career. I am sure as career services professionals you have met with students who tell you they don’t know what they want to do.

And, that’s OK.

I’ve seen far too many students seek work in an industry that aligns to what they studied because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do. Or what their friends think they should do. Or their parents. Or, maybe their school? I encourage all upcoming graduates to do three things that you can help them with to set them up for success:

  1. Take an inventory of their skills. I’m not talking about technical skills. I’m talking about communication, teamwork, adaptability, problem solving, multi-tasking, leadership, quick thinking, and analytical skills. Know what they are good at and know what they aren’t. Encourage students to gravitate to their strengths.
  2. Don’t urge them to seek a specific job. Ask students about the kinds of problems they want to help solve or the challenges an industry faces. This will get them looking in the right space and thinking more broadly about potential possibilities. This is especially important when working with large organizations with complex business lines and structures. So much opportunity to discover!
  3. Network, network, network. Get your students out to as many events and company sessions as you can. The more they talk to industry professionals, the more they will learn.

I know you are meeting with upcoming graduates who are stressed about the school to work transition they are about to go through. Your students will find their dream job… day. It just might not be today and it might not be what they are thinking would be their dream job right now. Let them take stock of their skills, interests, and support them to explore opportunities even if they don’t directly align to their studies.

They will find the route to their dream job. 

Good luck managing career readiness and expectations for your upcoming graduates.

Jeff Ollinger
Senior Manager, Early Talent Acquisition, RBC 


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